Online Jukebox

Disk Jockey

The main controls on the left side of the program window are used to create and manage playlists. To begin, click Artist to display the names of the tracks imported from the hard drive in the central window pane. A click on the second button instead shows the imported Albums, which Cantata displays with the cover images, if it finds them on the hard drive or on the web. Clicking on one of the albums opens a list of tracks in the central pane.

Clicking on the plus symbol to the right of each track transfers it to the temporary playlist. The matching title then appears in the right-hand window pane. Clicking on the Play icon in the upper left corner of the taskbar in the program window starts playing back the current playlist. The horizontal bar to the right shows what is currently playing. Playback of the track on the MPD server starts immediately without latency (Figure 4).

Figure 4: Cantata makes creating playlists easy.

To generate a permanent list from this temporary playlist that can be recalled at any time, first select the individual tracks and then right-click to open a context menu. Click Add to Playlist and then New Playlist and enter the name of the new list in the dialog that then appears. Then use the Playlists button on the left side of the window to open the playlist. Now you can fill the list with tracks in the same way as you did the temporary playlist. In the context dialog of the music selection, use the Add to Saved Playlist menu item.

Playlists can also be edited. To help you do this, you will find various options in the context menu of the titlebar, which you can access by right-clicking on a selected track. Use the Edit Track Information entry to edit the metadata of individual tracks and Remove Duplicates to remove duplicate tracks. The Sort By submenu lets you sort the list by artist or album, for example. You can remove unloved pieces of music with the Remove option, and clear the entire list with the Clear entry. Click Save As to save the current playlist under a new name.

Localization

Cantata not only lets you manage and play your private music collection on the MPD server but also integrates external sources. The Streams menu group can be used, for example, to integrate web radio stations into your audio collection. Additionally, Cantata lets you integrate online services such as SoundCloud [3] or podcasts into the software. Even external devices such as smartphones that transfer audio data to Cantata via the MTP protocol find their place in the software.

To access these sources conveniently, create a corresponding group in the sidebar if it is still missing by opening the preferences dialog. Select the desired option in the Interface group in the Sidebar tab and enable it by checking the box. Cantata copies this group to the sidebar of the main window. Then, select one of the active providers from the Streams group. Cantata already offers some streaming services, and you can add others from the settings menu in the Streams dialog. After loading the streams, you can include individual streams in the playlist in the same way you manage a music collection. You start the desired stream just like a track; Cantata immediately loads it and plays it on the MPD server (Figure 5).

Figure 5: You can also play web radio broadcasts with Cantata and the MPD server. Note that the interface of this version of the software places Streams under the Internet icon.

You can also integrate podcasts into the system under the Internet group; this opens a dialog for subscribing to podcasts. You will find many preset podcasts here, but you can also enable your own subscriptions in the Enter URL option. All you need is the corresponding URL, which you will find on the respective website. After entering the URL in Cantata, press the Load button on the right-hand side of the window to subscribe to the podcast. The podcast details then appear on the right side (Figure 6). In the main window, you can then open the desired podcast like any song.

Figure 6: Playing podcasts is no problem in Cantata.

Info Center

Cantata provides background information on artists, albums, and lyrics. To this end, the application accesses a number of online services. During track playback, you can hide the list window by clicking on the info bubble at top right and display an informational window instead.

In its three-part view, you will find biographical information for each artist on the left, a cover photo of and information about the current album in the middle, and the lyrics of the track you're currently playing on the right. On moving to the next title, the application automatically retrieves the new information and displays it immediately (Figure 7).

Figure 7: A full set of information about the artist, the album, and the track is available at the click of a mouse.

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